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Re: Prince & Jarl


>I have been reading the recent discussions concerning Sinclair historical
>error's with interest. I feel the internet can be a very dangerous tool and
>published pages fill the internet with information in some cases from
>amateur writers with no qualifications to publish and only their one sided
>story that happens to interest them.

Whenever anything bad happens these days, if the Internet can be
implicated, it seems that someone claims the Internet is to blame.

And what does publishing mean?
Do any of us think that these kinds of publishing are the same:
 * peer-reviewed scholarly journal
 * carefully researched and cited scholarly book
 * first-person autobiography
 * documentary films
 * speculative books by filmmakers
 * speculative films
 * amateur newsletters
 * marketing slicks
 * advertising

Yet all of them are publishing.

Why should an amateur web page with the only sources cited being a person
who was neither an eyewitness nor even contemporary to the events, and other
distant parties, be considered a source of equal validity to a scholarly tome
with proper citations?  Or to a scholarly web page with proper citations?

> There are many fine pages being
>contributed from Sinclair's all over the world and the volumes of pages are
>a credit to Sinclair history, but are we getting the fact straight? Are we
>glorifying our ancestors a little too much? And as Tim so rightly said
>"Those who elaborate the story will undoubtedly kill it stone dead and make
>the whole issue a laughing stock."

I agree with Tim.

However, I think the main issue is that suddenly with the Internet many
more people can publish in some form, and very few of those people have
been trained in researching or citing sources.  This is an opportunity,
but one that requires care to use.

>When I first started on the internet, I posted a private email to Sinclair
> about Eureka Stockade as my GG Grandfather was believed to have been
>at the battle. Sinclair was impressed with my story so he posted it to the
>Sinclair list. As with many things sent to the list John published it on his
>Sinclair site.


> I have in the last 2 years received emails from over a
>dozen children who are doing school projects on Eureka Stockade. Even little
>old me is being used as a source at the bottom of school projects.

This isn't necessarily a problem.  Many children would have been hard pressed
to find as much information about Eureka Stockade as they can via that page,
which also includes links to pictures of the Eureka flag, for example.

If they found a picture of that flag, or a story about the events,
in some child-oriented periodical, would they have been likely to
contact even the immediate source?  I think not.  Yet over the Internet
they can contact you directly.  You may not be a primary source, but
you can educate them on what you know and on how to find such sources.

And note that it is children who are approaching you as a source, not
scholarly researchers.

> I did not
>check my facts. I simply had a book at home where I got all the dates from.
>My own three children are being encouraged at school to use the internet as
>their main source to research material as a part of their modern technology
>studies. We need to be careful with what we publish on the web and think of
>the children who are trusting our work to learn from.

Indeed.  And we need to educate children about different types of publications
and sources.

>Sinclair has been screaming for 2 years now about the 9 knights at Hastings,
>among other things!
>It has taken him a long time to get any discussion from it. Why? We have a
>great family, we don't need to glorify it any more then the facts.

Hear, hear!


John S. Quarterman <jsq@quarterman.org>
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